Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Eider, by Sam Devlin
My good friend, Kirk is back in Port Townsend, from a trip to a monastery in Japan where he climbed 2446 stone steps to a temple that was 1400 years old. While chanting with monks, backed by taiko drums that echoed like thunder and where, among the ancient kanji carved in the mountain rock he found joy and enlightenment.
Kirk is the owner of Eider, a Sam Devlin design from the early 1980's. He loves this sprit rigged cutter and it's easy to see why, from the photos.
Kirk is a sailor's sailor and we can trust his judgment on the fine sailing qualities of this little gunkholer.
After filling me in on his mountain trek, he gave the particulars of Eider:
"Sam built about seven of these sweet little cutters. She is 16.6 ft. on deck with a fixed keel and attached rudder and draws 2ft. She weighs about 1400 lbs. Sam told me that the Eiders were heavily built by eye, with no real plans other than a lines drawing. They became too expensive for their size at about $10,000(US) in those days. That's what lead him to come up with the smaller, simpler and more cost effective Nancy's China and the larger full keel Winter Wren, which is built more like Eider, but is 18ft."
Kirk has been experimenting with traditional Japanese sculling oars called Ro (what the Chinese call Yuloh).
He has a straight shafted sculling oar on Eider now, with which he sculled around the harbor at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival this year. Everyone seemed excited about how easily this nonpolluting alternative to the outboard motor worked.
He's working on building a traditional Ro for his Eider this winter and we'll be anxious to see how it works, next summer when we meet again at the Sucia Island Rendezvous.
I have a feeling Kirk would agree that climbing to a mountain top monastery is not the only way to experience joy and enlightenment, when you can sail a boat as sweet as Eider and achieve much the same.
Eider measures 16.5ft. LOD, 6.5ft. beam, 2ft. draft, and 1400lbs. "all up". She is rigged as a as an unstayed spritsail cutter with staysl and flying jib on a short bowsprit, approximately 150 sq.ft. in sail area. She also carries a drifter of about 100 sq.ft. The main and stays'l are tanbark.
She is a hard chined skiff with a slight vee bottom and a full keel and poured concrete and steel internal ballast. Her cabin has sitting headroom, a solid fuel cabin stove and berths for two. She carries a 5hp Mariner outboard auxiliary.